Using Dark Paint Colors to Open Up A Small Space

It has been a long-standing myth that small rooms need to be white. The old theory is that lighter colors (such as white) open up a room, while darker colors lead to a heavier, shrinking feel. Recently, Trulia consulted several designers to pick top paint colors that specifically make small rooms look bigger… and guess what? Traditionally darker colors in shades of navy and grey came out on top.


When observing Trulia’s best all-around colors to make a space feel larger, there are stark differences in light and dark levels of the hues. While ‘cloud white’ is a traditional and classy approach to opening up the feel of a room or office, ‘hale navy’ can be seen as a more modern approach. However, this deeper color can be used in a small space while keeping a traditional feel, as seen in the image below.


Trulia is not the only source that is emphasizing deeper colors either. In Country Living, Darryl Carter stated that “[in] a library or personal space, a dark color can create a wonderfully inviting sanctuary.” Apartment Therapy has also stated that “dark hues can work their own type of magic in small places, and more often than not the result is dead classy and much harder to get wrong.” House Beautiful has named colors such as Brinjal, Delft Blue, and Witching Hour as the best paint colors for small rooms.




However, it is important to note that not all dark shades are created equal. Mid-tone blues and dark greens can demand attention be placed onto the walls themselves, leaving the room with a more confined feel. The safest bet is to stick to shades of charcoal grey and navy blues, as well as specific trendier colors such as Trulia’s favorite “Hale Navy” shade.

In order to prevent a room from looking and feeling too dark, it is important to balance out the look by adding more white in furniture, artwork, and even linen. For example, adding a white rug, white books, and lighter colored furniture allows the home library below to look like a comfortable and homey space.


If you are not ready to make the full leap to darker colors, an accent wall (or walls) in a small space may be a great place to start practicing balancing between light and dark colors. This can be seen in the example of a home office below, which uses a navy blue and white color palette to make the room feel larger while achieving a classy and attainable look.


It is clear that darker paint colors are finding their place in both modern and traditional homes. Whether you start small, by introducing an accent wall in a room, or create a deeply enchanting library out of an extra space, dark colors are a perfect and classy aspect in any home setting.

If you need any paint in South Reno, visit Sherwin Williams at 9748 S. Virginia St, Ste G, Reno, NV 89521.  775-853-8880.